For Jennifer Aniston, a new house was the beginning of a new life.
Amy Astley, the editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, which published the actress’s home in its March issue, sat down with Aniston’s longtime interior designer, Stephen Shadley, to discuss the Dumplin’ actress’s talent for design and how her new home helped her start over.
“It was about the time that she and Justin got together. And I think it was just like, let’s try and look for something together,” says Shadley, of Aniston’s decision to let go of her beloved Beverly Hills home, which he also decorated and AD published in 2010. “She loved the first house so much. She was conflicted about selling it, but wanted to move on in her life.”
“She was ready to turn the page — new home, new life with Justin,” Astley adds, noting, “They chose this house as a couple.”
Aniston and Theroux found their new place, a modern and minimal estate in Bel Air, in 2012, and paid a reported $21 million for it, before spending two years on a top-to-bottom renovation with Shadley’s help.
While Aniston has “a great eye” for design, according to the editor, adjusting to decorating for two was a bit of a struggle.
“Justin definitely wanted to be involved, so there was a bit of a learning curve for me on how to include another voice in the design process,” Aniston admits in the feature. “For instance, I figured out that immediately saying ‘No!’ to any suggestion is not the most collaborative move.”
Shadley, an A-list favorite and AD100 honoree, notes, “When you bring these two sort of disparate backgrounds together and you’re forming this union, it’s a lot of give and take on both sides. And I think she learned a lot.” Justin brought “more of a New York sensibility” while Aniston “loves that sort of calm sensibility,” he says.
A few pieces, the designer says, were non-negotiable for Aniston. The oversize bedside lamps, the orange Robert Motherwell painting, and a Tiffany lamp “she’s had forever,” were holdovers from the previous house.
But Aniston, like another one of Shadley’s clients, serial home renovator Diane Keaton, has the decorating bug, he says. And it may mean the stunning estate, for all its sentimental connections — the couple got married in the backyard in 2015 — may not be their forever home.
“I think it’s too seductive to move on,” says Shadley. “And someone like Jen and Justin who love the process of doing this kind of work — I think,you know, you’re intrigued to do it again.”